The enhancement of human well-being is one of the ultimate goals of resource management; however, it is not explicitly considered by forest policy indicators. Our previous studies examined how Japanese citizens in the Yasu River watershed of the Shiga Prefecture perceived subjective well-being related to forests (forest SWB). We found a negative correlation between forest SWB and forest ownership, suggesting dissatisfaction with the low profitability of forest ownership. Based on this result, in this paper, we argue that forest SWB can be an important indicator for policymaking in the context of urbanization and forest restoration and can complement existing forest indicators focusing mainly on physical and objective properties. First, we propose that a direct measurement of well-being (e.g., forest SWB) is preferable over an indirect measurement (e.g., GDP), for policymaking processes related to forests. Second, forest SWB can reflect the quality of our interactions with forests, which is important in urbanized societies which tend to have reduced experiences with nature. Third, forest SWB could identify inequalities between the users of forest ecosystem services and forest managers. Overall, forest SWB can be a holistic indicator to capture a variety of perspectives held by citizens.
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